Holden Barina bounces back with four star safety rating


The Holden Barina has bounced back from a poor two-star safety rating to achieve four stars in the latest crash test results from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), released in New Zealand today by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and the Automobile Association.

The new results show that the addition of upgraded safety features and improved structural performance have significantly improved the Barina’s ability to protect occupants in a crash, allowing it to re-join a range of other four-star vehicles in the small car class.

There was widespread criticism of the Korean-built Barina following the release of a two-star ANCAP rating in May 2006.  The previous model Barina, sourced from Europe, had achieved four stars in ANCAP testing in 2001.

AA General Manager for Technical Services Stella Stocks said it was pleasing to see a much better safety result for the popular small car following the latest ANCAP tests. 

“Holden has been keen to improve the Barina’s safety performance, and ANCAP representatives met with the car's designers in Korea earlier this year.  Holden has put effort into improving the passenger compartment’s structure and reducing the risk of knee injury,” Ms Stocks said.

NZTA Vehicles Manager Don Hutchinson said the addition of head-protecting side airbags as a standard feature was also a key to pushing the Barina over the four-star threshold.

“Head-protecting side airbags can literally mean the difference between life and death in a crash. That’s reflected in the higher scores achieved in crash tests by vehicles equipped with these airbags.

“Earlier this year we launched a high-profile advertising campaign with ACC promoting the potential of these airbags to save lives and prevent serious injuries. Research has shown that occupants in vehicles with effective head-protecting side airbags can survive crashes which are lethal to occupants of vehicles without them, and the new results for the Barina are further evidence of the airbags’ benefits,” Mr Hutchinson said.    

Ms Stocks said the improvements made to the Barina demonstrated the value of ANCAP crash-testing in providing motorists with independent information on safety performance and driving consumer demand for safer vehicles.

“Ten years ago four star results were still rare and five star results were unheard of. Safety has become a higher priority for vehicle buyers, and manufacturers now routinely achieve four or five-star ratings in crash tests,” she said.

The crash tests conducted by ANCAP involve a frontal impact test at 64 km/h, a side impact test at 50 km/h, and an optional pole test, where the vehicle strikes a round pole lined up with the driver’s head in a 29km/h side impact. Vehicles also undergo a test to assess likely injuries caused to pedestrians by a vehicle travelling at 40 km/h.

ANCAP is supported by all Australian and New Zealand motoring clubs, state governments, the New Zealand government and the FIA Foundation. The NZTA and the AA are both members of ANCAP. Detailed crash test results are available on the websites of both organisations - www.nzta.govt.nz(external link) or www.aa.co.nz(external link).